January is always a time for goal setting and looking at the year ahead, and while I sit and plan the future of Ethnic Collective Co its easy to assume that people who stumble upon the brand will instantly know what the brand stands for and what we plan to grow into over time. I realise it is not always that obvious, so I want to share with you how Ethnic Collective Co came to be, and why.
The art of craftsmanship is a wonderful thing; and experiencing it first hand in Marrakech pretty much took my breath away. Walking down one of the many winding alleyways of the Medina we came across a gentleman whittling chess pieces and honey dippers… with his feet! It was mesmerising! Sitting on the floor whittling away with his wooden machine he was very happy for onlookers to come and watch his pure talent. We bought some honey dippers and he made a little wooden charm, threaded it on a string and gave it to me as a gift. This is a warmness I felt from a lot of the artisans in the Medina, each so welcoming and proud of what they do.
The wonderful treasures we brought home nearly didn’t fit in the suitcase but I knew I would be visiting Morocco again, as there was so much I didn’t manage to buy. The quality of the handmade goods have really impressed me over the years, my tea tray and tea pot still have pride of place in my living room, along with cushions and ashtrays that decorate our home, but also have a story to tell.
As I have grown older, I have become more aware of the origin of the products I buy; how and where they are made, and if they are sustainably sourced. Yes you can grab many a bargain on the high street, but at Ethnic Collective Co we want to offer something that little bit special, we offer beautiful home décor, sourced from beautiful places, and you are also supporting small communities and keeping their craft going.
I named the business Ethnic Collective Co as the meaning of ethnic references a subgroup with a common national or cultural tradition. I want Ethnic Collective Co to bring together cultures, techniques, traditions and beliefs. I want our community to be supported and our customers to have a greater understanding of where their product is produced and by what methods. I have big plans for this business, and want to visit many countries, building relationships with groups of artisans while sharing their stories with you at the same time.
The name is not meant to ostracise any group, as we want to shine a light on different cultures, sharing the traditions and identifying ones heritage and beliefs.
As of October 2021, I got to go to Morocco again, visiting more areas than I have done before. You can learn more about my trip by reading the travel diaries here.
Ethnic Collective is an online homeware store that curates and sells authentic artisan made home interiors from across the world, each piece having a story to tell.
Founder Sally Hopkins has always had a fondness for handmade homewares since visiting Morocco in 2016, it was there she realised she wanted to step away from far east sourcing and start sourcing directly from the artisans of Morocco, focusing on fair and ethical sourcing, that is transparent. She launched her website in 2020 and sells products made in Morocco ,India and Bali, ensuring to shine a light upon the makers.
Ethnic Collective started selling at markets in 2022 and are currently planning their next sourcing trips to both Morocco and Indonesia to bring more hand crafted homeware to the UK